Gabriel: Big Opportunity Could Await Bears' Wims

September 28, 2018 - 1:46 pm

(670 The Score) While the Bears' offense has largely struggled early in the season, one player who has stood out is rookie receiver Anthony Miller.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they'll be without him when they host the Buccaneers this Sunday, as he dislocated his shoulder last week and has been ruled out

Promo: Watch every Bears game season this season with fuboTV -- click to start free trial now!

So who will replace Miller? There are three candidates to fill the role: Josh Bellamy, Kevin White and rookie Javon Wims.

Bellamy had two catches in the early going and while he's adequate as a backup, he's on the team for his special teams skills. With the Bears having a week to plan and prepare for Miller's absence, they could instead count on White or Wims to step up. White has seen spot duty so far, while Wims has been inactive in each of the team's first three games.

White had a fairly good training camp and preseason but has yet to catch a pass in the first three games. The question surrounding White is the trust factor -- do the Bears' offensive coaches have confidence that he knows his assignments and can come up with big plays if called upon?

Miller often is the inside receiver in the Bears' offense. Conversely, White has usually played on the outside, which creates some concern for him filling Miller's role. That's because the routes that receivers are asked to run differ from the outside to the inside. As outsiders, we don't know much White has filled the inside role in practice and how comfortable he is with it.

On the other hand, Wims has played on the inside. Judging by the preseason in which he was the Bears' leading receiver, he knows the position well. It was then that he proved he could makes catches in traffic, run after the catch and block. Wims also was effective as both a short and deep receiver. With his 6-foot-4 frame and length, he can create mismatch problems.

While we don't know what Bears coaches will do, my guess is we see a combination of Bellamy and Wims filling Miller's role, depending on the situation. With no regular-season tape on Wims, the Bears could have an advantage there for at least part of the game.

Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who's an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.​​